2017 has been tremendous for me professionally. I’ve been involved in several very interesting projects with four different organizations, across three countries, and even got to work with the government for the first time in my career. In some of these projects I’ve been the sole “data guy” while in other I’ve been part of, or led a team. Here are some of my insights, not necessarily as relates to BI, but rather about software projects and IT as a whole.
1. Good methodologies do not age very quickly
I’ve taken the role of BI solutions architect in a government project, and the project is a classic, almost old-school data-warehouse. There are external sources, nightly processes to acquire the data and then transformations and loads into the data warehouse. So much of what we are doing in this project has been well defined by Ralph Kimball some 20-30 years ago, and still prove to be exactly what we need. Sure, we are using different tools and different platforms than what was available back then, but the concepts and rules still stand.
2. Older means more experienced
Over the last several years I’ve often been the oldest one in the team. This year I got to be the youngest, working in a team of ages 40-65. I absolutely love the diversity and enjoy learning from the experience of others. A culture which values the experienced is a smart one in my opinion.
3. Agile should be more…agile
I’ve been working in “Agile” projects from time to time, in various forms of commitment to agile. Generally agile is good but what I’ve seen time and time again this year is that it should be treated in a more…agile fashion. There’s no one fit all solution anywhere, agile is no exception. Here’s an example:
the usage of story points to estimate velocity instead of work hours. It usually makes perfect sense because each team member has their own speed, and story points bring everyone to the same page. However, what if there’s only one developer and one tester? in such case I saw first hand that it’s easier to use hours. Took me quite a few hours (story points?) to convince the scrum master though.
4. Remote work is fine, it’s just a matter of dosage
I’ve spent the first half of the year working mainly from home, following the big earthquake we had in 11/2016, which deemed my main client’s building not safe. I love the ability to get things done without much interference, but on the other hand, big decisions are easier made in person, and human nature dictates you actually speak with people from time to time. So, if I get to choose, I guess 2 days a week from home is perfect.
5. Blockchain is the future and I want in
Much like “AI” or “Machine Learning”, Blockchain is a buzzword that took over in 2017. I couldn’t stay indifferent and learned a bit about the technology and community around it. I’ve even invested in a few very promising ICOs, and I’m not sure about how, I want to get involved at some point. The promise of distributed data that cannot be easily controlled, manipulated or hacked by one main entity is music to my ears.
6. Building a website dedicated to data and BI is much easier than updating it frequently
I’ll try to do better.